By Amy Roberts
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Vacation is a chance to relax, unwind, and leave your cares behind, right? Well, once you've followed these smart home security tips to protect your home from common risks while you're on vacation, your time away will truly be carefree.

Prevent Burglary
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the majority of home break-ins occur during the popular vacation months of July and August. To be smart about home security and prevent break-ins while you're out, you should:
  • Make sure everything is locked tight before you leave. More than 30% of burglars enter through unlocked doors and windows.
  • Peek in your own windows. If you can spot enticing expensive electronics or jewelry, so can would-be burglars. If possible, move or obscure these items from view.
  • Arrange to have a neighbor collect your mail and newspapers, or contact the post office or delivery service and request they suspend delivery.
  • Put a few indoor lights on timers to create the illusion that someone is home, and set your outdoor lights on timers so your home and yard is well lit at night.
  • Hire someone you trust to mow your lawn if you'll be gone more than a week.
  • Park your car in the driveway or, better yet, ask a neighbor to occasionally park his or her car there so it appears someone is coming and going.
  • Don't advertise that you're leaving town by changing your voicemail message or posting your plans on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Safeguard the Infrastructure
The National Fire Protection Agency reports that 13 percent of home fires were caused by electrical malfunctions from 2007 to 2011. Unplug all nonessential electronics and appliances or shut off the power strips into which they're plugged, so they're not harmed in the event of a power surge. Additionally, don't leave nonessential appliances running, like the dishwasher or washing machine.

Protect Your Home Against the Weather
Seasonal storms can be another threat to your house while away; even minor flooding can cost you thousands in cleaning, repairs, and replacement of damaged belongings, according to FloodSmart.gov . Walk around your home and inspect gutters and downspouts. Are they clear of debris and draining water properly? Give garage doors a once-over to see that they close flush and that the weather-stripping is intact. Check that your sump pump is functional and that its hose is sending the water downhill and away from the house. Additionally, bring in or secure any outdoor furniture that could be tossed in high winds.

Finally, have a trusted neighbor check in on your house periodically if you plan to be away for more than a few days. It will keep your mind at ease and your home safe and secure.


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